A man accused of sexually assaulting his ex-partner's young daughter over a four-month period during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year has been refused bail.
The accused, a foreign national in his forties, appeared before Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court.
He was charged with 10 sample counts of sexually assaulting the primary schoolgirl in Dublin.
His barrister told the court the allegations were graphic but his client will contest them, and that he was seeking bail and would obey conditions.
Detective Garda Tracey O’Reilly told the court the accused was arrested on Friday at his home and then taken to Store Street station.
He made no reply when charged with offences contrary to section two of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990.
During the contested bail hearing, Detective Garda Tracey O’Reilly submitted that the accused was a potential flight risk.
He had lived in Ireland illegally for several years and was not registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), she said.
The offences are alleged to have taken place from the start of January until the last week of April this year.
Detective Garda O’Reilly told the court the girl “documented it in a letter and handed it to a teacher in school”. The child disclosed that “she was subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of her mother’s friend”, Judge Halpin heard.
She was subsequently interviewed by specialist gardaí and repeated the allegation.
The court heard the girl alleged the abuse started off with kissing and then attempted French kissing, “licking her face”, rubbing her breast area and putting his hand in her underwear.
The detective said this occurred during lockdown when the child’s mother was working long hours and the accused was helping as a childminder and had more access to her.
The offences can result in a maximum sentence of 14 years.
Detective Garda O’Reilly said that the man, who did not address the court, was in the State illegally, has had no interaction with the GNIB and has no ties to this jurisdiction.
He had also travelled to England and returned via Northern Ireland to avoid detection, she alleged, adding that the man had no intention of remaining in the country.
Defence counsel Kevin McCrave put it to her that he would abide by strict conditions, surrender his passport and could sign on twice a day at a Garda station, and he would have no contact with the alleged injured party, directly or indirectly.
Questioned further, the detective said there were no conditions that would allay her fears.
Judge Halpin accepted the garda's genuine fear and was satisfied that he must refuse bail. Legal aid was granted and the accused was remanded in custody to appear again next week.